RE: `capitalist' character values

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Mon Jul 23 2001 - 01:54:33 MDT

At 08:26 PM 7/22/01 -0500, Barbara wrote:

>I think you're right, Samantha. I believe we could provide a livable
>guaranteed minimum income for U.S. citizens without raising taxes if other
>public welfare programs and social security (which is not, strictly
>speaking, a welfare program) were discontinued. I'd like to look at some
>real numbers, but it's hard to tell exactly how much is being spent.

FWIW (maybe zilch), I haven't chased the following down yet, so they could
be crackpot, but a guy sent me some urls that look salient, after a local
journo, mentioned below, cited my views in The Age newspaper:

>- has material from Dr.
>Gavin Putland that closely lines up with the GNI Sue-Anne Post described,
>and also has a fair number of links to do with this whole area (he calls it
>Universal Basic Income or UBI). She might want to look at that first, if she
>hasn't already come across this sort of stuff in preparing her article.
>- is my own
>publications page, with a fair bit of my own work in a somewhat similar
>direction but about a year out of date. It isn't the same though - my
>approach (Negative Payroll Tax or NPT) works a bit differently at a number
>of levels, even though it works out the same in the long run.
>- is
>material from Professor Kim Swales of Strathclyde University and his
>colleagues. You can also reach it at the part indicated by "this scheme
>would simultaneously increase employment and reduce taxation" under "Taxes
>and Jobs" via the site It has stuff that works out
>the same as my approach, only his reasoning comes at it a different way
>which is far heavier on the economics. Unfortunately there's no easy way
>around this; my way is heavy on the mathematics, though I left out just
>about all of it in my summaries.

>For now, I'd just like to mention a few points, without giving the
>supporting material for reasons of brevity:-
>- There are time scale issues on just how a GNI would work out. The thing
>is, unlike my own and Kim Swales' approach, it would have to be paid out and
>administered by the government, from funds raised elsewhere. Sue-Anne Post
>is right in thinking that eventually all the savings would pretty much pay
>for it, or maybe more (in fact, Kim Swales' work suggests a GDP improvement
>of about half the employment improvement in percentage terms, so maybe 3 or
>4%, which would boost yields of growth taxes). But all this would have to
>work through, and meanwhile there would be extra administration and
>inefficiency in handling the GNI even while Social Security costs etc. were
>still in place. So improvement would be slow and would have up front costs
>during a transition. And existing deterioration wouldn't stop while we were
>waiting for things to come right from a GNI; we might not gain on our
>problems. (Not a reason to give up - just a reason to look for something
>even better while we did what we could.)
>- Whether or not a GNI eventually led to bludging and economic collapse, or
>to easier survival all round with everyone working, would depend on just
>what levels of support we reached (and also what we could do to stop the
>balance of payments blowing out and to raise our levels of saving). It turns
>out that there are three scenarios: no change to talk of, if GNI levels were
>too small; bludging and collapse if they were too high; and a middle level
>where nobody got enough GNI to live off, but where workers' and employers'
>expectations had dropped enough that there were enough low paid jobs around
>so everybody could work enough to make up at least the difference, maybe a
>bit more. But we can't tell just what that level ought to be - certainly not
>$500 per week if even a few gave up work on that; it would have to be a lot
>less than Social Security. Again, Kim Swales' work and my own finding that
>our approaches work out the same as GNI in the long run give us a clue; it
>might even work out if the levels were as low as 5% of average wages.
>- While my own NPT avoids some of these problems, both NPT and GNI need some
>kind of tax around, and if these taxes were the wrong sort like a heavy GST
>or One Nation's "Easytax" they would have to change to work in a way that
>strangled investment - not from the levels of tax, but from the way taxes
>would blow out for anyone who tried investing a bit more. In economics
>jargon, the taxes might have high marginal rates on investment. That means
>that whatever was done, the right kind of tax reform would have to come
>first or we would have to phase things in slowly enough to cope. And there
>are a lot of non-economic issues, like trusting the government to do it
>right and not let any bureaucrat put individuals on a blacklist for what
>should be standard benefits.



Good hunting, folks!

Damien Broderick

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